Welcome to the blog, Julia! Your cover looks amazing, by the way. Could you tell us a little bit about No One to Hear You Scream?
No One To Hear You Scream is like The Ghosts Of Belfast meets Cape Fear. It’s the story of Rory Madden, a former Belfast gang member living in exile in the states where he builds his dream house on the edge of Keuka Lake in upstate New York, only to lose it to foreclosure when he can’t make his mortgage payments after getting popped in a drug raid. Six months after he’s released from pre-trial custody, he goes on a drug-induced rampage to get even with everyone he thinks is responsible, including the nice family who’s bought his house. When their teenage daughter falls for him, together they plot the murder of her parents.
What led you to write this book?
In 2008, my family and I bought a country house in foreclosure on a 30-acre wooded property out in the middle of nowhere. Shortly after moving in we found ourselves on the receiving end of the former owner’s wrath, still angry over losing his house. We were targeted with vandalism, and when it began to escalate, we called the police to report it. The police were the ones who told us they believed it was the former owner. Apparently he was well know to them. That night I had a dream—a nightmare—where a guy was standing at the end of my driveway with a shotgun and he wanted me out of the house. From this image my character, Rory Madden, was born. And I constructed the story around him.
A year later we sold the house and moved back to the city, where I can honestly say I feel a lot safer, being within screaming distance of my neighbours.
I liked how the description mentioned “the dark side of the American dream”. How does your book challenge the American dream?
The American (or North American, since I’m Canadian) dream is that ideal we strive for; a good life filled with success, abundance, health, and love and happiness. And most of the time this includes buying a house. But sometimes things happen to throw that dream off kilter, like an unexpected predator in the midst. That’s what happens in my novel when a family buys the house of their dreams only to discover the previous owner is a violent criminal who wants in back.
Do you see any intersections between themes in No One to Hear You Scream and any of your other books?
I think all my writing leans toward noir with a dark feel. I do love to blur the lines a bit between the villain and the good guy because I think that we are not all bad or all good all of the time, so I enjoy playing with the reader’s emotions a bit in making the bad guy sympathetic as I’ve done in this novel.
What is your best writing advice?
Many years ago I received a brutal rejection letter from a literary agent who couldn’t seem to say enough bad things about my manuscript. She then gave me a list of books on the craft of writing that she promised would put my writing light years ahead. Naturally my initial reaction was to be offended, but rather than get my ego up, I decided that maybe she might know a thing or two and perhaps I should shut up and listen to her advise to see if there was any truth in it. So I bought every book on that list. As it turns out, I consider this one of the pivotal points of my writing career. Everything she said was completely accurate and I’ve benefited enormously from reading those books. That is the best writing advice that I can pass on, read every book on the craft of writing that you can get your hands on.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Julia!
Julia Madeleine is a thriller writer and tattoo artist living on the outskirts of Toronto. Her third novel, The Truth About Scarlet Rose, will be available December 2011.
Julia Madeleine can be found on Twitter @Julia_Madeleine and here: www.facebook.com/MadJulia.
No One to Hear You Scream is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.